Looking down the barrel of a pun, Max meets Mona Sax

I'm a little slow—I didn't realize Legally Blondeplayed on "legally blind" until renting the sequel. Nor did I punderstand Max Payne, a cop whose entire family was killed in the original game, and who then took untold bullets (and whatever pain killers were lying around) avenging them. Justice is blind; Reese Witherspoon, fairness personified, is blond. Bloodied and murderous—and, in this sequel, falling in love with a woman carrying more emotional baggage than Witherspoon's Elle Woods has pink Gucci suitcases—Max Payne embodies the depthlessness and injustice of human suffering. Very Mel Gibson. And Max's love interest? A contract killer who survived being shot in the head, and who you also play: Mona Sax. Who wrote this crap, Ed Wood?

"It's like kissing the barrel of a gun, a bullet trembling in its dark nest, about to blow your head off." So goes, roughly, Max's meditation on love during the graphic-novel-style opening scene. He's obviously into some kinky shit. This is sexy violence: shot-up bodies stiffen and reel, tumbling down stairs, blood spurting. As you enter slow-motion "bullet time," hordes of attackers twist and fall in an orgy-like spectacle. This all looks great, except on PS2 (don't even bother with Payne 2 if that's your system). The Xbox version plays a little easier than the PC, which only matters because the game is already so short (perhaps 12 hours total). Unlockable modes offer nothing new, and chatting with thugs and checking answering machines ain't all that. Call it Medium Payne.


Throw ya gunz up.
image: Rockstar Games
Throw ya gunz up.

Details

Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne
For: PC, PS2, Xbox (review version)
Developer: Remedy
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Rating: 7 (out of 10)

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